Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cow Bay

This huge sign about Cow Bay is posted on an exterior rock wall. Click on the picture to enlarge it for reading.

See the many cow-related names or symbols in the area.

Directional hoof sign

Cow Bay is a waterfront community in Prince Rupert. It was named as such when a herd of dairy cows landed here by ship in 1906.

Have a cowriffic day!

- Karen

Monday, September 29, 2008

Prince Rupert

On our last port of our cruise, we stopped at Prince Rupert, British Columbia. From what I understand, in order to hire an international crew to work on the cruise ships, the cruise company must dock at a non-U.S. port. Click here for a brief history of this port.

This is a bronze statue by the dock titled "We Are Out There" dedicated to fishermen lost at sea. Behind the statue is our cruise ship docked at the port.

After docking, we boarded a catamaran to go on a whale watching excursion and passed by this 1907 lighthouse on Lucy Island.

Prince Rupert's Chatham Sound area has a high concentration of humpback whales. This was one of many whale tails (or flukes) I saw during our 4-hour trip.

There were other whale watching boats in the area like this one in the distance. Since whales are unpredictable, they could pop out anywhere like the 4 between that boat and ours. One of the tricks to look for whales is to look for the whale vapor spouts coming from the humpback's two top blowholes. Click here for further information on how whales breathe.

Have a good week,

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Picking Up a Glacier Along the Way

Here are a few crew members from our cruise ship going out to bring back a piece of a glacier for passengers to see up close. The glacier you see in the background is Dawes Glacier. Click here if you want to see its location by the Endicott Arm waterway.

The crew is dwarfed against a large breakaway piece of the glacier.

The crew travels by several floating pieces before finally deciding on picking this one to bring back onboard.

The crew is coming back onboard with a special item.

Thanks to everyone who commenting on my last post! Yes, I had a great time in Seoul, but I still have a few more posts about Alaska. :)

- Karen

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Skagway, Alaska

In continuation with my Alaskan trip report, one of the more interesting towns we docked in was Skagway. You know, the one with the "public restroom" on the outskirts of town.
The town's population is about 840 so on a busy day when the cruise ships come in, the tourists outnumber the residents.
You can click on the above photo for a larger view of the Skagway map or click here for a close-up view.

Skagway is a small town and this is the main street where most of the tourists visit to buy their souvenirs. Many of the employees are seasonal workers who come here from other parts of Alaska or the United States to work during the summer. When the last cruise ship leaves for the season, they go back home.

Here is a picture of some of their stores. The wooden plank sidewalks really give the town a rustic feel.

This building served as a college back in 1900 before it closed after a year and made into a courthouse. It now serves as Skagway's City Hall and museum.

Built in 1898, the Red Onion Saloon was the city's famous bar and brothel. The downstairs operated as a bar and the 10 room upstairs served as a bordello. Today, the bar is still downstairs, but the upstairs is a brothel museum. To read more about its history, click here. And yes, I did wait until a horse & buggy came by before I took this shot.

To read more about Skagway's gold rush history, click here.

By the way, I will be out of town again for a week. Hubby is going on a business trip to Seoul, South Korea and I'm going to be tagging along. I can't resist traveling to new places. I hope to have some interesting photos to show when I get back.

Have a good week!

- Karen

Friday, September 19, 2008

Public Restroom

This gives a whole new meaning to "public restroom". I saw this structure while walking towards downtown Skagway, Alaska. If you click on the second photo, you can see a little sign asking for donations to clean up Skagway. I did not check the content of the can, but it is not likely for people to leave donations out in the open.

Happy Friday!

- Karen

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday Hero

Lt. Cpl. Jason Hanson
L/Cpl. Jason Hanson
21 years old from Forks, Washington
3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
July 29, 2006
U.S. Marine Corps.

Lt. Cpl. Jason Hanson died when a gasoline truck near a building he was in exploded, causing the building to collapse in Al Anbar province, Iraq. Three other Marines were also killed in the blast. Lance Cpl. Anthony E. Butterfield, 19 yrs. old, of Clovis, California; Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus, 28 yrs. old, of Wolf Creek, Montana; Sgt. Christian B. Williams, 27 yrs. old, of Winter Haven, Florida.

Hanson graduated in 2003 and joined the Marines in 2005. He married his wife just before shipping out.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Gold Prospecting

Continuing on with our Alaskan excursion, we also tried gold panning. I guess there are still some gold in Alaska, but you better bring a magnifying glass to see them.

Here's where our excursion brought us. It's only a few miles from downtown Skagway. It's a little touristy, but it's a lot of fun if you never tried it before.

Visitors are seen here listening to our host on the technique to pan for gold. He called visitors who don't discover any gold..."Hopeless".

Here he is showing us what we can find at the bottom of our pans...if done correctly. Doesn't he look like a character just stepped out of the 1800's?

Each of the visitors are handed a pan filled with dirt, rocks, and gold which we had to use our skills to fish out.

After a 5 minute tutorial, I tried desperately to get the technique down, but I couldn't figure out when to shake or when to swish my pan. I was told that if you do it at the wrong time, you can end up washing away all your gold flakes. I'm what you call a "Hopeless" prospector. After 20 minutes of swishing when I should have been shaking and finding nothing, I asked for a personal tutorial. One of the hosts was able to separate the gold from the rocks and dirts in a few simple shakes & swishes.

Before I knew it, our excursion was over and we had to bring all our findings into the office to be weighed and priced. After combining hubby's findings and mine, the gemologists said our flakes netted out to $21.50. We weren't paid, but we got to keep our flakes. It was nice to know we found the 2nd highest amount of gold amongst the other visitor although I am sure the majority of the findings came from hubby and my personal tutor.

Have a nice week,

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Yukon Suspension Bridge

I have always been fascinated by suspension bridges. The Yukon Suspension Bridge is the 2nd one I have walked on. The first was the Capilano Suspension Bridge located in Vancouver, British Columbia.

From recollection, the Capilano was much more exciting because a strong wind or someone walking across with a heavy step will cause the bridge to sway slightly side-to-side. Click here for a short video of the bridge. If you look closely, you can see it sway.

The Yukon Suspension Bridge, located close to the U.S./Canadian border, was part of an excursion during my recent Alaskan vacation.

This is the view you will see after you enter.

Ready to take that first step across the bridge? Don't look down!

Once you reach the other side, look back and you will be rewarded with this view.

Are you ready to go back? Watch out for that first step!

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

- Karen

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bear Sighting

Outside of a zoo, I have only seen a bear twice. Once by a freeway, yes freeway, in Tahoe and the other at Mendenhall Glacier during my recent Alaskan trip. We were warned verbally and with signs that there were bears in the area due to the salmons spawning in the nearby streams.

Bear warnings

Trail closed due to bear sightings.

I was about to leave the park and was disapointed that I didn't see a bear. While waiting for the bus, I saw a black figure running from the trail into the parking area about 100ft. in front of me. Of course, I run towards this figure hoping to take a picture of it. Looking back, that is something I shouldn't have done especially when it is a bear, but I think it was more afraid of us.

Have a nice weekend,

Friday, September 12, 2008

9/11 Memorial Visits

Since it was September 11th yesterday, my friends and I visited two local memorials dedicated to the passengers & crew who died on United Flight 93. A number of the victims were residents of the San Francisco Bay Area.

This is the first memorial we visited. A stone was dedicated to each of the 40 passengers and crew inscribed with their name, hometown, and age. On the front is also a mirror as a way for visitors to reflect how these people gave their lives to save countless others. To read more about the Union City memorial, click here.

At the back of each stone is a rough square to signify their unfinished lives.

These markers list the history of Flight 93 on that fateful day plus the donors to the memorial.

This second memorial we visited is located inside a cemetery. This marker illustrates how the memorial looks.

This is how the memorial looks. Jason Dahl, the pilot of Flight 93 is buried in this cemetery.

- Karen

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mendenhall Glacier

If you ever get a chance to visit Juneau, Alaska, take a trip to Mendenhall Glacier. It's a short 20 minute bus ride from the docks. Did you know the only way to reach Juneau is by plane or boat? There are no roads that connect Juneau to the outside world and it's the capitol of Alaska.

This is the famous Mendenhall Glacier. You can rarely see these so close without a boat. Click on the photo for a larger view.

This is a close-up view of the glacier. Here's what I read about why the the color is so blue..."Glacial ice appears blue because it absorbs all colors of the visible light spectrum except blue, which it transmits. The transmission of this blue wavelength gives glacial ice its blue appearance."

Just in front of the glacier are these strange shaped ice sculptures which I assume broke off from the main glacier and floating on Mendenhall Lake.

- Karen

Wednesday Heroes

Note: I missed a "Wednesday Hero" posting last week so there are two this week.

SSgt. Andy Pena
SSgt. Andy Pena

U.S. Air Force

Staff Sgt. Andy Pena performs in-flight calibrations on a HH-60 Pave Low while flying Sept. 3 over Ellington Field, Texas. He and members of the 55th Rescue Squadron deployed from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., to Ellington Field in response to Hurricane Gustav with less than 24 hours after notification. Sergeant Pena is an aerial gunner.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams. Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
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Lance Cpl. Ryan T. McCaughn
Lance Cpl. Ryan T. McCaughn
19 years old from Manchester, New Hampshire
1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force
November 7, 2006
U.S. Marine Corps

"I just can't believe it," said Nicole Cote, mother of L/Cpl. McCoughn. "It's not supposed to happen this way. Your kids aren't supposed to leave you." McCoughn joined the USMC during his Senior year of High School. "He said he needed to do this. He said if he could keep one dad from going to Iraq and he could take his place instead, then he'll feel like he's accomplished something."

Lance Cpl. Ryan T. McCaughn was killed on November 7, 2006 while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq. He leaves behind his mother, father, step-father and two brothers.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
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